Friday, January 27, 2012

To the Weekend!

I predict a productive weekend ahead. One full of projects, and reading, and baking- of course baking. Maybe I need to predict me working out as well... we shall see about that. But for now- I see a good and happy weekend ahead. I wish you the same as well. See you back here next week!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Clouds in Kauai

Buenos Dias! Let's talk about clouds today! I love clouds. Sometimes they're thick and puffy. Other times they're thin and straight. And sometimes they look like giant alligators. Pure awesomeness.

As of late- we haven't really had a bunch of clouds here in Jackson. We've had crazy snowstorms where the sky is so gray you can't see anything. And we've had days where it's bright and sunny with not a cloud in sight... but those days tend to be negative 15- and I just stay inside.

So when I was looking for which photo to submit for my "word of the week" over at 3 Letter Words I came across all of these photos of clouds I had taken in Kauai. And I was instantly taken back to tropical sunsets, gorgeous clouds, and much, much warmer weather.

Pulling up to our spot on the desolate beach...

AFRICA! No... still Kauai. But this tree reminds me of Lion King

Hello moon...

Alright I'm ready. Who's taking me back?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Japanese Style One- Pot Supper

  • 1-2 bundles of Somen noodles (found in the Asian aisle of the grocery store)
  • 5 cups reduced- sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup mirin or cream sherry
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3-5 thin slices of peeled ginger (I was out of ginger and it still tasted great)
  • 12oz stir fry beef
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and cut into thin slices
  • 4oz sugar snap or snow peas
  • 4 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 in. cubes
  • 3 green onions (green and white parts), cut into 1 inch lengths
  • Sriracha for added heat (my husband puts Sriracha on everything from typical Asian dishes to tuna sandwiches... I put in on nothing... because I'm a wimp)

Boil water and soak somen noodles until soft (about 5 minutes). Drain and cut into smaller pieces (I normally just cut in half).

In a 5- to- 6-qt. pot or a 12-in. frying pan (with sides at least 2 in. high), bring broth, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, and ginger to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

Arrange noodles, beef, bell pepper, peas, mushrooms, tofu, and green onions in separate piles in the pot. Cover and simmer, without stirring, until beef is cooked to your preference (I cooked mine for about 9 minutes).

Set pot on the table so people can serve themselves, with Sriracha on the side.

Recipe adapted from Marlene Kawahata in Sunset Magazine

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Listening to...

I've had 2 albums on repeat a lot lately. Andrew Belle and The Civil Wars. Both albums are so fantastic that I can just put them on and go- never having to worry about skipping to the next song. Aren't those the best?

Andrew Belle:

The Civil Wars:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Meatballs

These meatballs are cheap, quick, and easy- my kind of meal. They also taste soooooo good! I ate the leftovers for lunch the following day... cold... they were that good. Enjoy!

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided

In a large mixing bowl, combine the meat, cheese, egg...

Basil, parsley, garlic powder...

Salt, red pepper flakes...

And 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs into a small bowl. Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1.5-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. (I just eyed it and placed on a piece of wax paper... the lesser amount of dishes to do the better).

Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, roll in the breadcrumbs, and place the meatballs in individual, miniature muffin tin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.


Adapted from Alton Brown

Friday, January 20, 2012

To the Weekend!

It's snowing like CRAZY here in Jackson! I love it. Every time I look out the window or I walk out the door, all I see is falling snow. I think it's going to be one fantastically, relaxing weekend... I can't wait.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Looking Back

Last time I was in California, I had the opportunity to go through some of my grandparent's old photos. There were a ton- and I fell in love with each and every one of them. What amazing photos! I spent hours sprawled on the floor going through box after box of scattered photos and memories. I left most of them behind for my brother and dad, but I took some of my favorites back with me.

I only wish I had found and asked about these photos while they were still with us. If your grandparent's/ parents are still with you- do it. What do you have to lose? I would have loved to hear the stories behind each moment captured. The two below of my Papa and Grandma Chicken are both framed and hanging in our house now.

My papa standing in front of the tents he was living in while on location. My grandma's passport photo.

I've sent these photos to my Aunt Mieko (my grandma's sister) because I'm curious if this is a family photo of my grandmother's brother and sisters. The woman on the very right looks like my great aunt and the woman sitting front and center is my grandma.

I love the mix of cultures here. The boy in his cowboy hat- and my dad in his kimono.

My grandparents were amazing with animals. Here my Grandma Chicken is giving a treat to her dachshund who is "sitting pretty". She taught Maverick to do the same.

I have no idea who the other people are in this photo. But I love this picture of them at a party while stationed in Germany.

With my dad while stationed in Hawaii.

Me and my hero back in '88.

And a more recent holiday. I miss them...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste for adventure over the love of comfort.

A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old because he deserts his ideal. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul.

Preoccupations, fears, doubts, and despair are the enemies which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us into dust before death.

You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good, and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature and of God.

If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic, and gnawed by despair, may God have mercy on your old man's soul.

-General Douglas MacArthur

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Baked Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese is delicious- but it can also be incredibly bad for you. So today, I have a healthy baked version for you to try. I served it the other night with some pork loin and it was fantastic- I love the breaded top. I also made sure to not tell anyone it was healthy until after they'd tried it- my husband liked it so much he finished off the leftovers as well. Always a good sign. Enjoy!

  • 4.5 cups (12oz) uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 (12oz) carton 2% low- fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2oz) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2oz) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat- leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; place in a large bowl.

Place cottage cheese in food processor; process until smooth. Combine cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Add the cheese mixture to pasta, and stir well. Spoon mixture into an 11x7- inch glass or ceramic baking dish (or whatever you have) coated with cooking spray.

Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, panko, and parsley in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Preheat broiler (do not remove dish from oven). Broil pasta 1 minute or until top browns.


Recipe from Cooking Light